For those who find standing in a queue and waiting for a driver’s licence exhausting, the underground hacking market, just couple of clicks away, can deliver one within a week for about $300, or Rs 19,000.
“Getting a fake and real passport, ID or driving licence or any other document is simple. I can make you both real and fake documents However, the real documents are more expensive than the fake because it takes time, skill and contacts to get it done,” reads the description of a “premium vendor” on the darknet, displaying a driver’s licence that reads “Delhi State Motor Driving License”.
Darknet, or dark web, is the deepest 20% of the internet that cannot be accessed by regular search engines. It requires special browsers that hide a user’s identity behind various layers of anonymity.
“Fake and real driver’s licenses, vehicle registration and cannabis ID cards at affordable prices. Fast and discreet delivery services also available. Contact us for more details and information,” reads another description of the vendor on a website which goes by the name of Tokcha free market on the darknet.
Experts pointed out that such identity documents can be purchased by both Indians and foreigners, including those who could pose a security threat to the country. The modus operandi requires a buyer to sign up on the website, choose the country and address where the licence is to be shipped to and pay the vendor, following which the seller promises a fast and discreet delivery.
Cyber security experts confirm that the driver’s licence is identical to the format in which Delhi government’s transport department issues the document.
“One of the possibilities is that these vendors either have the data of citizens as, barring biometrics, details of Indian citizens are easily available through a data breach. In such a situation, they can make the driving licence without any hassle,” said Kislay Chaudhary, founder and chairman of the Indian Cyber Army.
“It is possible that the vendor purchased the data and can now easily create the driving licence with the help of name of the person and without asking for more details from the client who places the order.”
However, Kislay explained that in case of custom orders, the details can be given to the premium vendor who will provide customised identity papers. Emphasising a lack of influence over the matter, transport department officials maintain that this modus operandi is out of their hands.
“Anybody can place any advertisements and it is beyond our control,” said KK Dahiya, special commissioner of Delhi’s transport department. He added that this seems impossible as one has to make a personal appearance for getting a learner’s and regular driving licence.
“The applicant’s photo and biometrics are taken in the process of getting the licence made,” Dahiya said. He refused to comment on the measures present to prevent the procurement of licences from places other than registered transport offices. Karnika Seth, a cyber lawyer and cyber security expert, pointed out that getting a real or fake driver’s licence could be possible through organised rackets.
“One possibility is that there is a racket or an organised nexus with the concerned office in India and some employee is trying to get the work done on a commission,” she said. It could also be possible, Karnika said, that it is being done through an “agent” who is not an employee of the transport authority that issues driving licence.
“An investigation needs to be pursued to find out if a criminal is using morphing techniques to create fresh licences. At present, the process of getting a license made involves providing biometric details, including fingerprints and retina scan. It needs to be seen whether the ‘premium vendor’ issuing driving licence has the biometric details too,” Karnika told Mail Today.
In both the situations, experts point out that it is possible that those providing driving licences are not complying with the standard operating procedures to issue the identity paper and what should be investigated is whose driving licence is being issued and whether their documents are with the concerned authorities.